It was a S.R.O. crowd at Riverton Library for the Campbell’s Soup show

ACT I: “Campbell’s… more than just soup” slideshow

capacity crowd at the RFL PHOTO : JM
The audience needed every available space PHOTO: JMc

We sincerely thank the 80 or so hardy history buffs and lovers of Campbell’s Soup nostalgia who sat in chairs, sat on the floor, and stood (some with obstructed views), to hear Marisa Bozarth as she chronicled the history and development of Campbell’s Soup Company.

Even Jan DeVries, our reception hostess, stands PHOTO: JM
People spilled over to the next room PHOTO: SD

The turnout for Tuesday night’s program sponsored by the Historical Society of Riverton took us off-guard, so we apologize to several folks who looked at the overflow crowd and left.

ACT II: Reception at the former Campbell home

Some really good sports are sitting on the floor PHOTO: JM
Entryway PHOTO: JM

After the engrossing slide show, the meeting carried over next door to the home of Jan and Dennis DeVries who graciously showed us the former home of Joseph Campbell.

 

 

Pat Brunker cuts Susan Dechnik‘s Tomato Soup Cake PHOTO: SD
How serendipitous was it that the former Campbell is next to the Library? PHOTO: SD

A splendid dining room table centerpiece of carnelian-red and white flowers in a vase surrounded by cans of tomato soup reinforced the theme of the evening.

 

 

Mmmm…good! PHOTO: SD

The delicious desserts and confections arrayed there  fueled animated conversations about how much folks enjoyed the well-researched topic and Marisa’s buoyant delivery.

Framed Campbell’s embellish the pantry wall PHOTO: SD

Our hosts, Mr. and Mrs. DeVries, doubled-down on the evening’s refrain and carried out the Campbell’s Soup motif by hanging a portrait of the home’s early owner in the kitchen area next to a framed print of a soup can and an illustration of a Campbell’s Kid.

PHOTO: SD

A soup tureen filled with fresh tomatoes, a Campbell’s coffee table book, a Campbell’s recipe book (doesn’t everyone have at least one in their kitchen?) and actual cans of tomato soup consummated the theme.

 

HSR President Bill Brown presented Jan and Dennis with mugs that depict their home and information about Joseph Campbell PHOTO: SD

Marisa wrote later, “It was wonderful! Everyone was so welcoming and I loved getting the opportunity, not only share the Campbell’s story with everyone, but also to talk to so many people afterwards!”

She is so right.

This important aspect of our meeting helps to carry out the Society’s several-fold mission to bring together those people interested in history, to increase awareness of our heritage, and to continue to expand our knowledge of the history of the area.

Our current membership of fewer than 100 households is at a historic low. We need your support in the form of membership dues and donations to underwrite our efforts to bring such programs to the public. 

ACT III: History is the topic of conversation

Marisa also has a Campbell themed mug as a memento of the evening PHOTO: SD
Bill Brown and Alice Smith, President of the Riverside Historical Society discuss cooperating on a future presentation PHOTO: SD

Another side benefit to having people with a common interest in history assemble together is the networking, or sharing of information, that often happens.

Given the thousands of local people over the years whose farm products supplied the plant or whose labor produced soup, it comes as no surprise that a few in the group either worked there themselves or had a family member employed.

One woman volunteered that she has photos of the old Campbell Experimental Farm in Cinnaminson I can scan.

Bill Hall once worked on Taylor’s Farm and delivered tomatoes to the Camden plant PHOTO: JM

It turns out that one of our members had first-hand experience with working on local farms growing and delivering tomatoes, and another worked for a time in the Camden plant. Look for more about their anecdotes in another post if I can twist their arms to be interviewed.

 

Tomato Soup Cake – Don’t say no until you try it PHOTO: SD

Maybe we can get Susan Dechnik to reveal the recipe for her Campbell’s Tomato Soup Cake.

Here’s a link to a Campbell’s Soup Company’s A SPICY HISTORY OF CAMPBELL’S TOMATO SOUP SPICE CAKE.

 

Epilogue: Please tell your Campbell’s story

Roger Prichard will have two more historic signs ready for Bank Avenue properties this spring PHOTO: JM

If you have another memory of Campbell’s from back in the day, please contact us through the form below so that we may add your voice to this collaborative effort that is rivertonhistory.com.

Marisa may have to add another slide or two to that PowerPoint. – JMc

PHOTOS BY SUSAN DECHNIK AND JOHN McCORMICK

Stay tuned for the sequel

The HSR sends a heartfelt Thank-You to Carlos Rogers

L-R. John McCormick, Carlos Rogers, Phyllis Rodgers
L-R. John McCormick, Carlos Rogers, Phyllis Rodgers

HSR President Phyllis Rodgers and newsletter editor John McCormick verrry gratefully accepted a check this afternoon on behalf of the Society from Carlos Rogers, creator of the Historic Riverton Criterium  – our biggest contribution ever!

THANK YOU, Carlos!!
THANK YOU, Carlos!!

This evening, Phyllis messaged her fellow Board members the awesome news:

Hello Board Members,
Carlos just brought a check for his Criterium Donation—-$4,000!!!
Many thanks to Carlos for all his efforts.
The HSR is so lucky. Life is good in Riverton!
Best to all,
Phyllis

Yes, it is good, and Carlos Rogers is one citizen who helps makes this town the great hometown it is.

Carlos Rogers directs the action at the 6th Annual HRCriterium
Carlos Rogers directs the action at the 6th Annual HRCriterium

He has devoted hundreds of hours over the past year to stage and promote the biggest and best Historic Riverton Criterium yet, drawing competitors and spectators from all over.

The Historical Society of Riverton is pleased to have again supported the event this year and truly honored to benefit from Criterium proceeds.

Thank you, Carlos, for your tireless efforts in continuing to bring such an exciting cycling event to our town. Your incredible generosity toward the many individuals and local organizations you have given to since its inception has just been a bonus! – JMc

Totally worth it

IMG_0798 (Copy)

Linda McCormick, Phyllis Rodgers, Susan Dechnik
Linda McCormick, Phyllis Rodgers, Susan Dechnik

The rain held off this morning and even when it came it was just intermittently drizzly.

Soon we almost had enough people to convene a meeting of Retired Riverton School Teachers.

It was great to catch up with RPS alum, Kim Piotrowski, with her mom, Ann Marie.

We enjoyed conversing with browsers who came by the Porch Club during the Garden Tour.

May Hannah brought by a color postcard of Fulton Street, c.1912, for me to scan.

IMG_0857 (Copy)Shown here framed, click here to see the retouched scan I made from it.

In the course of congratulating Tom Shaw on the work he is doing on his house at 301 Main Street the origin story of the famous Duster sailboat came up.

Duster history, The New Era, March 11, 1937, p3
Duster history, The New Era, March 11, 1937, p3

Local lore holds that Owen Merrill designed and built the first Duster there in a room on the 3rd floor. He and some friends lowered the craft from a window, took it down to the river, and christened it a “Duster”.  It became a world-class sailboat.

Tom is convinced that he has seen a newspaper photo of that moment – but where? Let’s ask the universe to find it. If a reader can direct me, please help. Tom wants to find an old Duster, seaworthy or not, that he can plant in his garden as a kind of “The Duster was born here” historical marker.

IMG_0856 (Copy)After grazing on a luncheon plate of goodies prepared by the Porch Club women, I also bought two table centerpieces composed of papier mache birds and plants in tiny Dreer’s Nursery terracotta flower pots that were found on the riverbank near the Pompeston Creek.

IMG_0851 (Copy)Bunched together here on my picnic table in Delran they will wind up in the HSR Museum at some point. It is coming together slowly… very slowly.

Oh yeah, we also sold five mugs, too, so the day spent was totally worth it.  – JMc

 

Gear up, Rivertonians. The Great Riverton Cycling Weekend looms

Bicycle News, 1895-04-15 Phila InquirerThe Great Riverton Cycling Weekend is coming up in just ten weeks, and the HSR is on board to help promote and support both events.

HRC riders in NYC large edit (Copy)
Here are the riders before they departed from NYC in 2014.

Rob Gusky, Riverton Favorite Son and organizer, is planning now from his home in Wisconsin for the second running of the Historic Riverton Century (NYC-Riverton) on June 11, culminating with a 3-Mile Community Ride when the athletes arrive from New York.

 

Riverton Bicycle Track sign
Riverton Bicycle Track sign

The first time, in 2014, Rob also started an indiegogo crowdfunding effort and secured additional sponsors that resulted in the Borough scoring an awesome historical marker near the site of Riverton’s old bicycle track.

 

Carlos rocks a HRCriterium t-shirt at the 2015 race
Carlos rocks a HRCriterium t-shirt at the 2015 race

Carlos Rogers‘ 6th Annual Historic Riverton Criterium, follows on Sunday, June 12, and consists of a number of races ranging from a 200 meter kids’ race to a 35 mile professional race over a 0.8mile, 6 turn, technical flat and fast course through the center of Riverton.

What can we say about a guy who has the vision to originate and bring to the normally quiet streets of old Riverton a frenzied fun event to kick off the Summer, and then proceeds to give away twenty-grand to community organizations over five years?

Each of these guys had me at “Historic Riverton” as they not only conceived of new Riverton traditions, but also managed to “give back” to everybody’s favorite hometown in impactful ways.

How about you? – JMc

The last refuge of the unimaginative

65 degrees, green grass and emerging bulbs on a brilliant  day. Must be Jan. 10.
65 degrees, green grass and emerging bulbs on a brilliant day. Must be Jan. 10. Whaaaat??

Widely regarded as the most banal topic for conversation in the world, nevertheless, many people find themselves mentioning the weather every day.

Oscar Wilde declared that conversation about it was the last refuge of the unimaginative.

It is the default small talk topic. Even strangers discuss the weather. Looking back at past posts, I bring it up a lot.

On the phone to my friend across country or with my daughter on a business trip, I inquire, “How’s the weather?” And I picture it.

So, since I brought it up…again… The weather is a bit weird here in River City.

Picture this.

Brilliant sun and shirtsleeve temps in December and January have kept lawn mowers going here and coaxed spring bulbs from their dormancy.

high water at the RYC
high water at the RYC

The Delaware was just over the top of the river wall just after noon today (Jan.10). Those dark skies on the horizon brought more rain in the evening.

Winter lovers, take heart. The Polar Vortex is waiting in the wings. That should freeze the little heads off those daffodils. Since they only flower once a year they may not revive in the spring.

We’ll talk more then, my friend. – JMc

2016-01-10 Yacht Club

 

Post Office may be ‘Snowed Under’ but it still delivers

Post Office 'Snowed Under'“Post Office Snowed Under With Parcels” read the headline in the old yellowed newspaper stored in our archive box in the Library basement.

I first saw this when working a few years ago on a piece about the Riverton Post Office – or offices – since there were a few over time.

No date – I looked on both sides for some hint.

But someone will know.

Al ‘Zipcode” Zidock, the BCT photog, captured Postal Clerks Frank Vacanti and William Wildman, Postmaster Joseph Yearly, and Postman Samuel Procopio on the job at the big brick former Riverton Post Office on Main.

Then, as now, the US Post Office continues to deliver.

Let me illustrate.

Jeff at Joie Budget Printing in Cinnaminson turned around our print job in just one day, so I printed, stuffed, and stamped envelopes Tuesday and rushed the newsletters to the post office before 5pm.

Coming right as the US Post Office prepares for its busiest delivery days of the year, I figured it would take a Christmas Miracle for newsletters to get to Society members before the New Year.

Despite handling record-breaking volume again this year, the USPS has already delivered at least one newsletter to a Riverton address. I spoke to Nancy Hall this morning (Weds.), and she had already received her mail-delivered copy.  Pretty remarkable.

And thank you very much, USPS. – JMc

P.S. For more history of Riverton’s Post Office, posted in 2012, CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

You won’t find these gifts at Macy’s

gibson girl mug thought (Copy)Need a gift idea? We have about 35 mugs  featuring vintage images from our archives on hand and ready to go. See the samples in this earlier post.

I just sent in another order for shoppers who stopped in today at the Riverton Library’s used book sale. I will set up shop again next Sunday, Dec. 13, and again on Sunday, Dec. 20.

Questions? Call 856-764-1551 or contact me by email.

If you have never ventured below stairs at the Library, come see a work in progress. We must get materials properly stored and catalogued. Then we can work out how to best display things. I do not have a timetable on when we would be open for visitors – there is still so much left to do.

Speaking of “left to do”… look for the November Gaslight News with a form enclosed for paying 2016 dues closer to Christmas. So make that a December Gaslight News.

What can I say – people are busy. – JMc

Scholars glean new understanding of region’s role in the Civil War

P.S. Duval & Son, United States Soldiers at Camp "William Penn" Philadelphia, PA:"Rally Round the Flag, Boys! Rally Once Again, Shouting the Battle Cry of Freedom" (Philadelphia: Published by the Supervisory Committee for Recruiting Colored Regiments, 1210 Chestnut Street), 1863. Chromolithograph with hand-coloring.
P.S. Duval & Son, United States Soldiers at Camp “William Penn” Philadelphia, PA:”Rally Round the Flag, Boys! Rally Once Again, Shouting the Battle Cry of Freedom” (Philadelphia: Published by the Supervisory Committee for Recruiting Colored Regiments, 1210 Chestnut Street), 1863. Chromolithograph with hand-coloring.

Learn how a church cemetery in Cinnaminson and a young black man from Riverton are linked to the decision to enlist African Americans into the Union army and to train them just across the Delaware River in Camp William Penn.

 

Jay Howard presents his findings to a well-attended meeting Jan 2014
Jay Howard presents his findings to a well-attended meeting Jan 2014

We pass along notice of this event received from our friend, Jay Howard, of Palmyra’s Historical Society.

Readers will remember we mentioned here in 2014, that Jay and others have studied Civil War muster sheets and a donated diary gaining great insight into the part this area played in that conflict. Presumably, this new presentation grew from that research.

 

African American Soldiers in the Civil War – Trinity A.M.E. Church Cemetery, Camp William Penn, and Henry Poke

Presented by Donald Scott, author of Camp William Penn 1863-1865: America’s First Federal African American Soldiers’ Fight for Freedom, and Jay Howard, Palmyra Historical & Cultural Society

Thursday, 17 December 6:30pm-8:00pm

Cinnaminson Branch, Burlington County Library

1619 Riverton Road Cinnaminson , NJ 08077

Phone: 856-829-9340